Sunrise brief: 6 GW a year of new carbon-free resources? California faces a massive build-out


If California hopes to hit its goal of having a carbon-free electricity system by 2045, then the state will need to add up to 6 GW of new renewable and energy storage systems every year and roughly triple its current grid capacity.

That’s a tall order. Over the past decade, the state has added 1 GW of solar and 300 MW of wind capacity on average each year. And over the next three years, electricity providers regulated by the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) are slated to add 8 GW of carbon-free generating capacity.

The California Energy Commission (CEC), California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the PUC made those assessments in a joint agency report mandated by Senate Bill 100, the state’s landmark policy requiring that renewable and zero-carbon energy resources supply all electric retail sales to customers by 2045. The bill was signed into law in 2018 and calls for those resources to replace fossil fuels for generating electricity in the state.

Hitting the clean energy goal will boost total annual electricity system costs by nearly $4.6 billion by 2045.

Models indicated that hitting the clean energy goal will boost total annual electricity system costs by nearly $4.6 billion by 2045. The report said this is 6% more than the cost under the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard, which requires having at least 60% carbon-free electricity by the end of 2030. The report also said that advancements in emerging technologies, increased demand flexibility, and cost declines in existing technologies may cut both total electricity resource requirements and implementation costs.

The report said the state’s electricity mix is already more than 60% carbon free. About one-third of that comes from renewable sources, predominantly solar and wind.

Vehicle-to-grid pilot in Indiana

EV Connect, a California-based software-as-a-service company, will work with the Battery Innovation Center (BIC) and Energy Systems Network (ESN) to deploy a vehicle-to-grid-capable charging system to support school bus fleet, truck, and other customers in Indiana. EV Connect will provide its electric vehicle charging management technology and 500 kW bi-directional bus-scale superchargers from Rhombus. The test aims to generate data on battery life, available cycles, and an understanding of discharge rates to help companies weigh how V2G will affect their products and systems.

Canadian Solar funds startup

Canadian Solar will invest in German-based SolarWorX as part of the start-up’s series A investment round. Canadian Solar is joined by co-investors EIT InnoEnergy, a European investor, and DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, the German development finance institution. Funding will help SolarWorX expand its product portfolio and sales activities in its overall push to electrify some of the 1.2 billion people globally that lack a stable electric grid connection.

SolarWorX provides a modular off-grid solar product called Solego that offers 80 Wh or 160 Wh battery capacity. The systems offer voice support in English, French, Swahili, Wolof, and Fula.

Griddy files Chapter 11

Texas-based power retailer Griddy Energy filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the Southern District of Texas. The company’s proposed reorganization plan includes offering releases to former customers with unpaid electricity bills. The company was buffeted by high electricity prices during the mid-February winter storm that crippled the Electric Reliability Corporation of Texas (ERCOT) grid operator. “The actions of ERCOT destroyed our business and caused financial harm to our customers,” said Griddy CEO Michael Fallquist in a statement. Griddy made national headlines as some customers complained they were billed 300 times more than normal for electricity during the storm.

Daqo supply agreement

Daqo New Energy Corp. signed a three-year high-purity polysilicon supply agreement with Gaojing Solar Energy Technology Co., a new solar wafer manufacturer. Under the agreement, Daqo will provide Gaojing with 45,900 metric tons of high-purity mono-grade polysilicon between June 2021 and May 2024. Prices will be negotiated by both parties monthly based on market conditions. Gaojing will make an advance payment to Daqo New Energy.

Gaojing plans to develop 50 GW of large-size solar wafer capacity in three phases. Construction of the first phase, with a production capacity of 15 GW, has begun and is expected to be complete by September. Phase II is expected to reach full production of 15 GW in 2022, and Phase III will bring additional 20 GW online by the end of 2023.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: